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Longhorns use rally to gain improbable tri-meet split

By Dan Gilles

What was supposed to be a double dual with Ashland turned into a nonconference tri-meet last Thursday night at North Ridgeville High School for the Lutheran West wrestlers.

The Longhorns had to battle Division I schools Midview and the host Rangers, and had to do it giving up at least two weight classes in both duals.

While the final dual, which was held concurrently on two mats to help speed things up, turned into a rout for the host Rangers over the Longhorns, 51-13, it was the middle dual that Lutheran West won, 37-36, which everyone was talking about.

The Middies led the Longhorns, 30-19, with four matches to go, one of which was going to be a forfeit. In fact, the Middies got 18 points due to forfeits before the match even started. If the Longhorns wanted to win, they needed to pin their way out.

Andrew Liese got it started by pinning David Croftcheck in 3:04 at 182 pounds to cut the deficit to 30-25, but the 195-pound forfeit bumped it to 36-25.

Christian Bremer pinned Tyler Streibel in 2:22 at 220 to cut the deficit to 36-21, setting up the all-or-nothing final match.

Ian Long came through, pinning John Nowagarski in 2:34 to cap the wild comeback for Lutheran West.

According to Lutheran West head coach David Ressler, this was his program’s first victory ever over Midview.

“It was great,” Ressler said. “That’s the first time we’ve ever beaten them. Our guys wrestled really well. We were giving them 18 points, and we just came up huge.

“Thank God that Ian came out this year. He’s been wrestling for me since about fourth grade, and last year he decided not to wrestle. I’m real thankful he came back, because that was a huge win for us. That sealed it.

“Christian, our 220, has just been improving so much. He did a lot of offseason wrestling. Those two wrestlers and their wins were definitely big.”

Tim Mecklenburg, who later lost to North Ridgeville’s Drew Dickson, 6-0, in a highly anticipated bout, started the Longhorns’ winning ways with a pinfall in 1:06 at 120, followed by a 14-5 major decision by Bryce Deblock over Austin Lowe to cut the deficit to 12-10.

After Adler Vasiloff was pinned by Midview’s Drew Schatz, Chance Huey (138) and Gevin Maxwell (145) picked up victories – the latter a pinfall in 1:06 – to claim a 19-18 lead.

That lead quickly disappeared with three straight Midview victories. Alex Szuch edged C.J. McNamee, 10-8, at 152, George Hollingsworth defeated Ryan Moore, 6-2, at 160, and Kolby Hirschfelder picked up a forfeit at 170 to make it a 30-19 lead.

Against North Ridgeville, the Longhorns forfeited four weight classes (106, 113, 170, 195) to spot the hosts 24 points. Lutheran West was only able to win three of the 10 matches held, although its wrestlers were only pinned once.

Long was the lone victim, ironically, getting pinned in 2:53 by Nick Bailey. Moore lost to Colin Riley by technical fall, 20-5, while McNamee lost to Nick Asp by major decision, 18-4.

Vasiloff defeated Sean Kegg, 8-2, Huey scored a 14-2 major decision over Brent Ningard and Liese pinned Shane Wise in 1:10 for Lutheran West’s lone victories.

“We saw their score against Midview (47-24), so we knew it was going to be tough,” Ressler said. “It was a great match between Drew and Tim at 120 – the All-Star match that almost never happened. It was good that we got it, and hopefully, that will be the finals match in two weeks (at the J.B. Firestone Tournament) at Black River.

“Chance Huey won both of his matches, freshman Adler Vasiloff came up with a good win against North Ridgeville … Overall, I think everybody kind of stepped up and did what they had to do in that first match, even if it was not getting pinned. That was big for us.”

The Longhorns took part in the Cardinal Invitational on Saturday. They will host the B teams from St. Edward, Mentor and Willoughby South in a quad this coming Thursday.

Ashland had to withdraw from last Thursday’s meet due to injuries.

 

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